Are 501(c) (3) groups subject to ADA?

I'm legally blind and wanted to take a language course at the local Swedish School. I explained the simple and easy accommodation. The director said they would not be able to do so. I know there is an exception in ADA for religious groups but what in this circumstance? Their website says they operate under section 501(c) (3) of the tax code if that affects it. Thanks!

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  • 10 years ago
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    They are compelled to follow the ADA under Title 3. If they are a religious school, but they have 15 or more employees they are not exempt. Most religious schools are not exempt.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Public schools are covered under Title II; private schools, including non-profits, are under Title III. Some state laws (for example, the Minnesota Human Rights Act) have more stringent requirements in their education sections. Religious schools are allowed certain exemptions, but it isn't a blanket release. That is, a religious school can hire teachers only of its religion, but it can't discriminate on the basis of race.

    Did the school offer an alternate accommodation? They aren't required to give you the exact accommodation you ask for, and they aren't required to change the nature of the program, but they are required to give you an effective accommodation to give you full access to the program. If it is a small agency that is not part of a larger chain, it might be able to argue that the expense is prohibitive. If you asked for Braille, audio materials, or computer-readable text, they would likely be required to give you that.

    Your state Dept of Education almost certainly has an office that deals with disability issues. That is a good next step. After that you could try either your state dept. of human rights or the federal Dept of Education Office of Civil Rights.

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